9/26 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: Sami Zayn vs. El Local, new general manager, Kassius Ohno returns, Tag Team Turmoil, Bayley vs. Sasha Banks
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped September 12 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] Before titles, Brad Maddox was shown backstage, checking his reflection in his phone, as Tyler Breeze walked in. After first checking his own reflection in the phone (nice touch), Breeze told Maddox he had a great idea. He said he wanted to enter the Tag Team Turmoil match on the show. CJ Parker walked in, shook Maddox’s hand, and said he also wanted to join. Maddox pointed out that neither of them had tag partners. Breeze suggested cloning himself, but Maddox offered up the solution of them entering the match together. They both groaned and walked off before Maddox smelled his hand and washed it with hand gel. I hope that was meant as a slight on Parker’s hygiene, and not on the Moon Child’s, errr, "illicit activities", shall we say...
After titles, the ring announcer introduced the Tag Team Turmoil match, explaining that the winners would earn NXT Tag Title shots at Corey Graves and Adrian Neville. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady were first out, and Amore said they were "hotter than the peppers than Peter Piper picked", and have "winning streaks in their dirty draws." Tom Phillips and William Regal checked in on commentary as Breeze made his way to the ring, followed by Parker...
1. Tag Team Turmoil – Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady vs. CJ Parker and Tyler Breeze. It’s a "winner stays on" type scenario. Breeze sat on the ring step as Parker and Amore started. Parker gave Amore an airplane spin before slamming him to the mat. After hitting the running double knees to Amore in the corner, Parker seems to be motioning for his open palm strike, but Breeze distracted him by asking to be tagged in. This allowed Amore to tag Cassady, who picked up Parker and put him down with swinging side slam...
CJ Parker and Tyler Breeze were eliminated 1st in 1:20.
Sylvester Lefort walked onto the stage and introduced Scott Dawson and Alexander Rusev as the third team. Dawson seemed to be walking with a limp as he came down the ramp. Cassady managed to carry his momentum through, taking it to both Dawson and Rusev before tagging Amore. Rusev immediately put Amore down with a Samoan drop. He and Dawson set about isolating Amore, until Amore managed to roll up Dawson and get a quick 1-2-3...
Scott Dawson and Alexander Rusev were eliminated 2nd in 3:09.
After the match, Rusev got in the ring and knocked Cassady off of the apron before hitting a cornered Amore with a running hip attack. The Ascension entered shortly after, getting into the ring as the commercial started... [C]
Gutt Reaction:The first segment of this show belonged on a 2 hour show with time to spare. NXT only has one hour to get from point A to point B, and a gauntlet style match like this seems an ill fit. I’d have rather of had a four corners match, as then the two segment running time could have featured more action.
[Q2] Rick Victor was working over Cassady when we returned. He and Conor O’Brian utilised frequent tags to keep Cassady on the back foot. Cassady eventually caught a break by hitting O’Brian with a big boot, and tagged Amore. Once again, Amore ran straight into a big move, this time a flapjack from O’Brian. Victor tagged in, and The Ascension hit Amore with their high/low combo, which got them the win...
The Ascension defeated Colin Cassady and Enzo Amore to win the Tag Team Turmoil match in 5:16.
Cue roars from O’Brian. A Triple H announcement was advertised for later in the show...
Bayley received a fairly loud "Bayley" chant as she made her way to the ring. Phillips welcomed Renee Young to the commentary table, and Regal immediately hit on her. Sasha Banks (or "Sasha Bank", if the ring announcer is to be believed) came out with Summer Rae in tow...
2. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks (w/Summer Rae). Bayley frustrated Banks early, until a timing issue lead to her coming up short with a head scissors attempt out of the corner. Banks dashed in to catch her, and proceeded to slam her into the mat. After smashing Bayley’s face into the turnbuckle, Banks applied a headlock with a body scissors. Bayley escaped, but was put back down with a suplex. Bayley kicked out, and after being thrown to the corner, she started to fight back. She built a little momentum with axe handles, but Sasha stopped her in her tracks with a slap to the chest.
Banks grabbed Bayley’s arm and went to the top rope. Following a roll through arm drag, she went to splash Bayley in the corner, but Bayley side stepped her and hit the "hug-plex", which Phillips reminded us all was the name coined for the move last week by Alex Riley. We had tried to forget, Tom! Bayley went to the top rope, but this time Banks brought her down by pulling her arm onto the ropes. This lead to Banks hitting a cross arm neckbreaker and picking up the pinfall...
Sasha Banks defeated Bayley in 3:54.
A Battleground advert aired. It will be free on Sky Sports 3 for those living in the UK. Always good to get a freebie... [C]
Gutt Reaction: Uninspiring work from the ladies. It’s hard to tell who was at fault for the less than stellar work put forward. I’ll counteract this week’s instalment of Diva negativity by pointing out that Renee Young may be the perfect woman. This is not based on her commentary skill (I can hardly be harsh after one outing calling a bad match), but on everything else.
[Q3] Aiden English walked onto the stage and asked for a spotlight. On his way to the ring, he sang about how much of a privilege it is to hear him sing, before capping off his song by again claiming he will put the "E" back into WWE. A "Bravo" chant broke out. His opponent, given the jobber name of Bull Dempsey, was already in the ring...
3. Aiden English vs. Bull Dempsey. After Zim pointed out my Michael Q Laurie/ Michael Cuellari snafu last week, I have double checked that tonight’s jobber isn’t called Bull Demp Sea, Bull Demp C., or any other version you could think of. English got caught a little into the match by a shoulder tackle, but hit back with a straight kick to Dempsey’s head. He followed up with his deep bow leg drop, and finished the match off with the "Take a Bow" Side Effect...
Aiden English defeated Bull Dempsey in 1:34.
Regal suggested English should be showered with roses after his matches. The crowd chanted "Encore", and English obliged, singing a shorter version of his opening song...
Gutt Reaction: The ironic cheering of last week seems to have translated into actual cheering. English at least smiled through it, and in all fairness, he hasn’t gone after the crowd yet, so they have no real reason to boo him, but it’s clear that he is exhibiting heel stereotypes (self-absorbed, arrogant, chest hair etc.), so the Cult of Full Sail are just misbehaving for the hell of it now it seems. I hate to say I told you this would happen, but I honestly love saying it. I’m a very ego driven man. I’d likely get cheered at Full Sail too.
After a UK tour promo aired, El Local (Ricardo Rodriguez) made his first appearance in months, and was followed out by Sami Zayn, who got a big pop for his entrance...
4. Sami Zayn vs. El Local. A big "Ole" chant started.
Michael Cole’s POV: They must be really, really excited for Los Matadores!
Phillips talked about Zayn making his Live Event debut in Montreal, and the huge ovation he received. Zayn hit a lot of flashy offense early on, but got taken off his game by an El Local backbreaker. Local looked to ground Zayn, but Zayn quickly recovered and picked the pace back up. Following a backdrop, El Local rolled to the corner, and Zayn met him with a running boot to the face. It was enough for Zayn to get the win...
Sami Zayn defeated El Local in 2:57.
They replayed the winning kick from a camera set up behind the corner. It really sold the impact of the kick. As Zayn went to the corner to celebrate, Bo Dallas’ music played, and he walked onto the stage. He said it was nice to see Zayn learning from his "mentor" (Dallas), and then said he had a few announcements for his "Bo-Lievers." He said he was finally healed, and said he forgives Zayn for injuring him. Dallas said he was ready to defend his title, and announced the Bo Dallas Invitational. He welcomed anyone who thought they could beat him to try and pin him next week, and earn themselves a title shot in three weeks time.
Zayn grabbed a mic in the ring, and said he would happily sign up first and take on Dallas right away. Dallas told him that since Zayn was "new", he needed to learn that you don’t interrupt a champion when he is speaking. He said Zayn may one day have a following, "The Zayn-iacs", but he isn’t there yet. So Zayn isn’t invited to the Bo Dallas invitational next week. Zayn flipped out in the ring as Dallas’ music played...
Gutt Reaction: The match was a little too short to allow Zayn to keep his streak of quality matches going, but lets look at the positives. 1) Good mic work from both guys, setting up next week nicely, 2) If WWE decides to let Ricardo Rodriguez wrestle, I predict he won’t set the world on fire, but could get a nice babyface reaction in a "loveable underdog" role, and 3) Many may disagree, but WWE made the right call in taking the mask off of El Generico and going with Sami Zayn. He has excelled, and it’s much easier to transition into comedy than it is to transition out of it (remember when they tried to make Santino look vicious when he was heel? My point exactly).
Backstage, Maddox was on the phone telling someone that Triple H would be there soon. Someone walked into shot, and Maddox smiled and shook his hand. He stood up to reveal the stranger as Kassius Ohno. OHNO LIVES! He told Maddox he had been away for a while, but he had also been medically cleared for a while too. Maddox tried to explain that "they" see Ohno as a D+ player, and think it’s funny to keep him trapped on the sidelines. Ohno threatened to turn up on Raw and disrupt every match. Maddox reasoned with him by offering him a match with Luke Harper next week. Ohno accepted and told Maddox it was a pleasure doing business with him...
Triple H’s announcement is up next... [C]
Gutt Reaction: Good to see Ohno back. He didn’t seem to be out of shape (the reported reason he was taken off TV for a few months), but I guess we won’t know for sure until next week. The Wyatt family turning up next week kind of soils the memory of the uplifting "goodbye" speech Bray Wyatt gave a few months ago, but they have certainly been missed since their departure.
[Q4] The ring announcer introduced Triple H, who got a mixed reaction. He weirdly threw up a peace sign, and shook a few hands on the way to the ring. I guess we’re getting tweener Trips tonight. He said he was amazed by the fans and the talent of NXT. He mentioned his admiration for Zayn, Leo Kruger, Dallas, Neville and Graves. He said should something happen on the main roster, he would call up NXT guys and the product wouldn’t miss a beat. He then said he was here tonight to address the ongoing problem with the Rhodes family.
He said his problems with Cody Rhodes and Goldust have led him to allow Dusty Rhodes to take some time off from the GM role on NXT. The fans chanted "No!", but Triple H said "No, it’s a yes. I make that decision." He said he was on NXT to announce the new interim GM, and brought out JBL.
JBL came out and did a little Teddy Long dance to the ring. He shook Triple H’s hand as he left, and then put his cowboy hat on in the ring. As he pointed out he was the longest reigning WWE Champion in Smackdown history, and had 20 years experience in the business, a fan started chanting something. "This isn’t sing-a-long with the Wrestling God, shut your mouth" was JBL’s quick silencing quip. He said without a doubt NXT was the best development complex he had ever seen, and the future had never looked brighter. He started to run down Dusty, saying replacing an old fat guy who could barely speak the English language with him is "good for business." He concluded by saying this was the NXT era of the Wrestling God. He walked backstage as NXT went off the air...
Gutt Reaction: JBL is an interesting choice for GM, but one that could stale quickly. Yes, John Bradshaw Layfield is fun on commentary and on the mic, but he is a firm heel on both. You know what that means – a heel authority figure! Because we didn’t have enough of those already, right!? RIGHT?! Hopefully, the light hearted nature of NXT keeps JBL entertaining, because if he becomes a totalitarian figure head, it could get really boring, really fast.
My point of the opening match being too stop/start for it’s own good rang true throughout the show. Had they given more in-ring time to it, it could have served as the show’s long match anchor, and made up for the other matches being short in length. Unfortunately, it’s structure meant we essentially had six short matches, none of which made a lasting impression. This episode felt like nothing but positioning for the weeks ahead, so I’ll hold off on a recommendation in hopes I can give one when this preamble pays off.
Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts on the article, add me on Twitter - @DazatheG
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